US-Based Manufacturing: What Industries Will Grow and Where

10 Jul, 2013

A study by the NAIOP Research Foundation concludes that the reshoring trend of manufacturing industries to the United States yields stabilization of jobs, but not net growth. Some industries will add jobs as others shed them, resulting in no change to the total number of manufacturing jobs but halting a decades-long trend of losing more jobs than added.

The manufacturing sector is expected to level off at an employment level of roughly 11 million jobs between now and 2020, after losing 6 million jobs between 2000 and 2010.

“Employment stabilization across the manufacturing sector bodes well for the overall economy and creates opportunity for real estate,” said Thomas J. Bisacquino, NAIOP president and CEO. “Rising wages in countries like China, increasing global transportation costs and political instability abroad are all factors affecting the decision to remain or return to the United States.”

While industrial-related jobs are projected to stabilize, service-based jobs are expected to grow on a net basis. The result is that 20 million net new jobs are projected to be created in the United States between 2013 and 2020, compared to a slight loss of about 5 million jobs between 2000 and 2010.   

The report, Stabilization of the U.S. Manufacturing Sector and Its Impact on Industrial Real Estate, was authored by L. Nicolas Ronderos, Regional Plan Association, and funded by the NAIOP Research Foundation and is available for download at It was released today at NAIOP’s I.con-The Industrial Conference and was featured in a special keynote session with Ronderos.

Growing/ Declining Industries and Geographic Implications

Between 2010 and 2020, Industries generating low labor products, such as chemicals and technology, are expected to expand, and industries generating more labor intensive products, such as apparel, are likely to contract.

Top Five Expanding Industries By Space Usage


Increase in Square Footage (in millions), 2013-2020

U.S. Region

Fabricated metal product manufacturing


Great Lakes and Southeast

Plastics and rubber products manufacturing


Great Lakes and Southeast

Wood product manufacturing


Southeast and Far West

Nonmetallic mineral product manufacturing


Southeast and Great Lakes

Furniture and related product manufacturing


Southeast and Great Lakes


Top Five Contracting Industries By Space Usage


Decrease in Square Footage (in millions), 2013-2020

U.S. Region

Computer and electronic product manufacturing


Far West and Mideast

Chemical manufacturing


Great Lakes and Southeast

Apparel manufacturing


Southeast and Far West

Textile mills and textile product mills


Southeast and Far West

Paper manufacturing


Southeast and Great Lakes

A geographic shift is expected to metropolitan areas, as companies select more strategic locations that decrease transportation costs and locate closer to consumers and skilled labor. “As a result, the reshoring trend will not be felt evenly across the United States,” said Bisacquino. “The opportunity for real estate is for regions with expanding industries to be prepared with skilled workforces to fulfill the job demand and facilitate the development of the necessary infrastructure and buildings.”

About the NAIOP Research Foundation: The NAIOP Research Foundation was established in 2000 as a 501(c)(3) organization to support the work of individuals and organizations engaged in real estate development, investment and operations. The Foundation’s core purpose is to provide these individuals and organizations with the highest level of research information on how real properties, especially office, industrial, retail and mixed-use properties, impact and benefit communities throughout North America. For more information on how to contribute or for complimentary research reports, visit